DIY Abstract Wall Painting

5 Materials
3 Hours

I don't know if you're like me, but once January rolls around I'm ready to change up my spaces. I love a fresh look in my home to start off the new year. I was looking at large abstract seascape pictures online but they were so expensive! I knew I could create one of my own for a fraction of the cost. I first studied a few of the prints I had seen to figure out how I could make something similar.

I purchased a 24x36 inch canvas for my project. I wanted to create a textured appearance. I already had joint compound on hand so I thought it would work perfectly. I simply used plastic putty knifes and spread it lightly across my entire canvas. I let my canvas dry overnight before moving on to the painting.

I wanted my abstract to have a coastal/seascape vibe. I live near the seacoast here in New Hampshire and it's natural for me to incorporate some of that feel into my home. I chose a simple palette of tan, light gray, and a few shades of blue from light to dark.

I used a sponge brush for this painting. First I applied the light gray and tan shades across the bottom. I dipped my sponge brush in the paint and just swept it across the canvas. I used the darker blue in the center of my painting to mimic the ocean.

This is where I used the paint colors. As I changed paint shades I blended the colors together as I moved up the canvas. For the top section of the canvas I repeated the light gray and light blue paints to mimic the sky. When you try this, remember this is an abstract so there's not an exact way of doing this just have fun! **TIP: I found that wetting my sponge brush lightly with water helped to blend the different colors seamlessly.**

Once I was finished applying the paint colors I drizzled white paint in various spots across my canvas and then blended it with a clean sponge brush. This will add some depth and highlights to the canvas. It gives the illusion of waves and clouds.

I wanted to add a frame to my canvas. I bought these precut craft boards at the hardware store.

I stained them with a Kona shade of wood stain. I like the deep wood color next to the lighter shades of the painting.

I did a very simple frame. I lined up the stained boards to the ends and back edge of the canvas and attached them using my nail gun. You could also use a hammer and 1" brads if you don't have a nail gun. Once that was done it was time to hang my new painting!

I really love how this turned out! You can take a tour of the rest of my living room right here.

I hope you're inspired to try your hand at abstract art to make a one of a kind painting for your home too!

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Jennifer Howard| Cottage On Bunker Hill

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Patricia Schulz
    Patricia Schulz
    on Jan 12, 2020

    Does the joint compound stay intact and attached to the canvas when the acrylic paint goes over it? (would hate to have my future masterpiece slide off onto the floor lol)

    • Heather Ruiz
      Heather Ruiz
      on Jan 16, 2020

      Ive also used this technique on a large canvas that i damaged in storage. It covered the repaired spots and turned out great with the texture. Yours is beautiful!

  • DeeDee Griswold
    DeeDee Griswold
    on Jan 23, 2020

    Hi Jennifer! Love your painting! Wanted to ask you, what kind of sponge brush did you use?

  • Carolyn Clark
    Carolyn Clark
    on Feb 24, 2020

    I love this idea and will definitely be creating! Your instructions are simple and I thank you!😁

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